County transfers water customers to Ahoskie

Published 8:21 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

WINTON – In the very near future, some current customers of the Hertford County Southern Rural Water District (SRWD) will see their monthly bills come from a new place.

On Monday, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners approved the sale of a portion of the SRWD to the Town of Ahoskie. That sale affects those county water customers whose property was part of Ahoskie’s most recent annexation – residences and businesses along sections of NC 561 East (Harrellsville Highway), NC 42 West, the Ahoskie-Cofield Road (including Willoughby Road, Waldorf Lane, VIP and Lincoln Roads) and NC 561 West (Colonial Acres and Oriole Drive areas).

The approved bill of sale was in the amount of $153,065. According to county records, the sale affects 137 “water service” locations.

Charles “Chuck” Revelle, who serves as legal counsel to the Hertford County Commissioners, explained the sale to the board at their Monday night meeting.

Revelle said the SRWD, which is a separate entity of the county, is entering into an agreement to transfer to the Town of Ahoskie part of its water distribution system, located in four areas recently annexed by the Town of Ahoskie. That agreement also covers eight customers who are not in an area annexed, but are served by the SRWD.

“There’s no way to get water to them (the eight customers) but through those same lines,” Revelle said.

The agreement calls for the SWRD to transfer the water lines, valves, hydrants and water service assemblies to the town; everything that is a part of the system with the exception of the existing water meters.

“Those meters are excluded; the Town of Ahoskie will be using a different type of water meter,” Revelle said. “We will get our meters back. They will be inventoried and used as replacement meters for the county system as the county meters wear out.”

Revelle also explained there were some encroachment agreements and easements that currently allow for the servicing of the county water lines, specifically with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (along highway right-of-way). This agreement transfers those agreements and easements.

In explaining the bill of sale, Revelle said the depreciated costs for that part of the county system being transferred to the Town of Ahoskie is $153,065. That number was arrived at by an engineering study and approved by the USDA – the funding source used by the county to originally install the water lines.

“The system is being transferred as is,” Revelle explained. “The county is not making any representation to warranties about the condition of the system. The Town of Ahoskie has inspected the system and is satisfied with its condition.”

Upon approving this measure, Revelle told the commissioners that the county would be transferring its rights, title and interests in that particular part of the water system and that the Town of Ahoskie is agreeing to serve those customers currently being served by the county, including the eight residences that are not in the annexed areas.

“(The former county water customers) will be served according to the same policies applied to other (water) customers in the Town of Ahoskie,” Revelle noted. “We don’t control the rates set by the Town of Ahoskie or the rates that will be applied to these (new) customers.”

The Town of Ahoskie has already approved this measure on their end and has cut a check in the amount of $153,065 contingent upon the approval of the bill of sale by the Hertford County Commissioners.

Commission Board Chairman Johnnie Ray Farmer asked if the $153,065 would go to the SRWD coffers. County Manager Loria Williams said it would, a stipulation by USDA that the money would be used for debt service.

Commissioner Curtis Freeman motioned to approve bill of sale and the measure was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Last week, the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald reported that Ahoskie’s initial phase of hooking up the town’s newest water customers was scheduled to begin June 23. Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond said the first area to receive the town’s water lines will be NC 561 East between Georgia-Pacific and Holloman Lane.

The second area of water line installation, which may begin simultaneously with the NC 561 project, will be along the newly annexed areas of the Ahoskie-Cofield Road. That will include much of the area northeast of Malibu Drive.

The third and fourth areas for construction will be NC 42 South and NC 561 West (Colonial Acres and Oriole Drive areas).

While the annexed areas along NC 42 West and NC 561 West do not have an official start-up date in regards to installing the town’s water lines, Hammond said the entire project is scheduled for completion over a 75-day time period.

“Barring any bad weather, we’re expecting the water lines to be completely installed by September 8,” Hammond said. “After the project is completed, the town will move into the areas and begin replacing all the old water meters with new state of the art radio reads.”

Ahoskie will also install sewer lines to the newly annexed areas. Hammond said that work will not begin until sometimes early next year.

The town’s new wastewater treatment plant is scheduled to go on line in March of 2011.